Little Tarkio Bridge, destroyed by floodwaters, reopens

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Little Tarkio Creek bridge flood damage last year/Photo courtesy of MoDOT

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

It’s a bit easier to travel between northwest Missouri and
southeast Nebraska; at least, once again there is a more direct route between
Big Lake and Rulo.

The Missouri Department of Transportation reports restoration
of the Little Tarkio Creek Bridge at Fortescue on U.S. Route 159 has been
completed. Floodwaters last year destroyed the bridge, so much so that guard
rails hung suspended in air with no pavement underneath. The damage forced MoDOT
to devise a work-around to get traffic flowing again between Big Lake on the
Missouri side and Rulo on the Nebraska side once floodwaters receded.

MoDOT awarded a $2.5 million contract to Emery Sapp & Sons
in July of last year to restore the bridge on Highway 159 between Route 111
(Lake Shore Drive) and Route P. Weather and repeat flooding delayed work on the
project, which finally began in September.

Floodwaters caused the concrete on the Little Tarkio Bridge to sag/Photo courtesy of MoDOT
Floodwaters caused the concrete on the Little Tarkio Bridge to sag/Photo courtesy of MoDOT

Detour signs remain up on Highway 159 as another bridge
project gets ready to begin. MoDOT says Boone Construction Company will begin
replacing the flood-damage Penny Slu Bridge just west of Route 111 on Monday,
June 1st. MoDOT hopes that work will be completed by mid-August.